Atsushi Watanabe (an expert swordsman) (渡辺篤 (剣客))

Atsushi Watanabe (1843-1915) was an expert swordsman who was born in Kyoto and in charge of Kimoiri (director) of Kyoto mimawarigumi (a group that guarded Kyoto of the Edo bakufu (Japanese feudal government headed by a shogun). His first name was Ichiro.

He was born as the first son of Tokinoshin WATANABE (渡辺時之進). He mastered the Nishioka-Zeshin (西岡是心) school (swordplay) under Onosuke ONO. In addition, he mastered Enmei school (swordplay), Ogino school (gunnery), Muhen school (the art of the spearmanship), Hioki school (the art of Japanese archery), Otsubo school (Japanese horse-back archery technique) and so on.

At the time of Kinmon Incident in 1864, he was in charge of the guard at Nijo-jo Castle. In the same year, he was assigned to Kyoto bunbujo (京都文武場) kenjutsu sewa kokoroe (the assistant manager of swordplay at Kyoto bunbu-jo training-hall). In 1867 he was continuously promoted to Kimoiri-suke (an assistant manager) and Kimoiri (manager) of Kyoto mimawarigumi, starting from Oyatoi Shichinin-buchi (御雇七人扶持) (name of rank). It is said that he participated in the assassination of Ryoma SAKAMOTO and Shintaro NAKAOKA with Tadasaburo SASAKI and Nobuo IMAI on December 10, 1867.

In 1868 he joined the Battle of Toba-Fushimi as a member of the former bakufu force.
Around that time he changed his name from 'Ichiro' to 'Atsushi.'

During the Meiji period, he worked for the Inspector of Nara Prefectural Police through an arrangement of a person of the new government (said to be someone from the Satsuma domain).

In his later years, he told the detail of the Omiya Incident to people such as his brother Yasuhei WATANABE and his disciple Tsunenosuke IIDA as he killed Ryoma by the sword 'Dewa daijo Fujiwara Kunimichi ' which was given to him by his father.

[Original Japanese]